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Looking Ahead to Another Summer of Soccer


Ah yes, the sun is out, the sprinklers are on, and the grass is green. Was that the sound of a ball skipping across a damp pitch I just heard? The signs are all around us; another summer of soccer is here, and this year’s slate of international action is pretty hard to beat. It may not be a World Cup year, but we’ll get to see four awesome international tournaments over the next three months. So get your calendars out and strap in because I’m about to give you all the details you need to make sure you don’t miss any of the passion-filled action of these hallowed soccer showcases.

Copa América

When: June 20 to July 14

Where: USA

Watch: FS1, Univision

We’ll start close to home. For the second time in tournament history, the legendary Copa América is coming to the USA, pitting Concacaf against CONMEBOL in a battle of the Americas. The last time it was here was back in 2016 for the 100-year anniversary, a tournament I’m sure many of us have fond memories of attending.

This year’s edition features a total of 16 teams, with all 10 nations from the South American confederation (CONMEBOL) and just six representatives from throughout the Concacaf region. This year’s Concacaf qualifiers include the host nation (USA), Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, and Jamaica. After a standard round-robin group stage, the top two teams from each group will advance to the quarterfinals of this relatively small (in numbers, not importance) tournament.

All four groups have games worth watching, but if you’re trying to prioritize and be responsible instead of just watching soccer 24/7, I’d keep an eye on groups A and C. Why those two? Because our very own Dayne St. Clair and the Canada Men’s National Team will be taking on the reigning world champs in Group A, opening the tournament on June 20 against Messi’s Argentina. Group C features the USA, Uruguay, Panama, and Bolivia, which should make for six exciting games. There’s going to be plenty of MLS talent on display throughout the tournament, so watch all that you can and enjoy!

It’s been a while since I’ve given predictions of any kind. Admittedly, I’ve missed giving you my unsolicited opinion, so I’m going to do it again; you’re welcome. I’m taking Brazil as my favorites to win this year. It just feels like their young star Endrick is ready for a breakout before he heads to Real Madrid, and Vinicius Jr. will be hoping to pad his stats for a run at the Ballon d’Or. Dark horses have got to be Colombia and Uruguay, though the little flag in my heart wants to squeeze the USA into the conversation. Argentina still has the quality to win this tournament, but I don’t think they have the same fire that pushed them to World Cup glory. You heard it here first; no trophy for La Albiceleste.


When: June 14 to July 14

Where: Germany

Watch: FOX, FS1

Across the pond, the UEFA European Championship returns for its seventeenth iteration, this time spread across Deutschland. 24 teams are set to compete in six groups of four, with the top two from each group and the best four third-place teams advancing to the knockout round. I’m not a huge fan of the third-place teams advancing, but hey, I don’t make the rules. At least, not yet.

For viewing purposes, tune into groups B, C, and D. I know that’s half of the groups, but it was hard enough for me to narrow it down even that much. Group B pits the reigning champs (Italy) against Spain and Croatia, and while Albania are undoubtedly the little fish in this group, an upset from them would be a fun wrinkle. Group C will be a good test for the Three Lions of England, as Denmark and Serbia are decent dark horse picks in any tournament. Finally, Group D is chock-full of superstars, with Kylian Mbappe, Robert Lewandowski, Virgil Van Dijk, and David Alaba each giving their squads one of the world’s best players in their respective positions.

Depending on who you ask, you could get some different favorites for this tournament. England’s squad is extremely talented, Germany is primed for a return to glory at home, and both Portugal and France have insanely deep rosters. Whoever comes out on top in this one is going to really have to earn it. Personally, I’m putting my support behind the hosts. I’m a big Kai Havertz fan, and it would just be cool to see Toni Kroos retire with a UCL and Euros double. A legendary end for a legendary player.

2024 Summer Olympics

When: July 24 to August 10

Where: Paris, France

Watch: NBC and Peacock

Cue the theme song. The Olympic Games are back, baby, and both the USMNT (U23s) and the USWNT will be competing this year. We’ve got a little longer to prepare for this one, so I’ll just give you the basics for now, and we’ll revisit it sometime after my soccer-binge for the Euros and Copa América ends on July 14.

The Olympics soccer competition likewise follows a typical tournament format, with four groups of four competing to be in the top two in their group to advance to the knockout stage. The women’s tournament is open to all players, allowing each nation to bring the best of the best from their player pools. I’m backing Emma Hayes and the USWNT to bring back the gold, but it’s not going to be easy.

The men, on the other hand, are restricted to U23 players, with three exceptions allowed per roster. Why is this the case? I’ll spare you the history lesson, but there was some disagreement between the International Olympic Committee and FIFA when professional athletes were allowed to participate in the Olympics back in the 80s. A little bit of business, a little bit of ego management, and a bit of a bummer for soccer fans that just want to see the best players play in the best tournaments.

The dates for this summer’s tournament are set, though the schedule is not. Like I said though, we’ll revisit this one. I promise.

Obviously, we’ll still have our regularly scheduled MLS programming throughout all of these tournaments, because we just never stop. It’s alright though; I have a plan to get the most out of this. Euros matches will be at 8:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 2:00 p.m. here in the Central time zone, with the Copa América slate kicking off at 5:00, 7:00, or 8:00 p.m. on the same days. That means you can watch five full matches in one day, with a few breaks for annoying things like food and work. It’s going to be a marathon from mid-June to mid-July, but trust me, it’s going to be worth it.

As far as the Olympic schedule goes, just watch it all. All the soccer, all the track, all the underwater skeet shooting (I don’t think that last one’s real, but maybe it should be). Let the non-soccer events serve as your break in the real action, and don’t forget to tune in to the Loons games along the way. We wouldn’t want you losing track of Major League Soccer in all the craziness!